The UK Government plans to decide before the end of 2019 if Chinese telecoms giant Huawei should be excluded from the rollout of its 5G mobile networks.
Speaking to the BBC, Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan said she expected the Government “could do something by the autumn” – but the UK needs to make the “right decision” with regards to network security, she added.
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She said: “We’ve got to make sure that this is going to be a decision for the long term, making sure we keep all our networks secure.
“Huawei are not involved in the provision of government networks at the moment and that’s absolutely going to stay the same way, but we will look at all circumstances.”
Prominent political figures have called to prevent the use of Huawei equipment in 5G infrastructure projects over fears that backdoors could be used by the Chinese Government.
Jeremy Fleming, director of UK cybersecurity agency GCHQ, previously warned that the UK needed to come to terms with the “opportunities and threats” that Chinese technology poses.
He said: “We have to understand the opportunities and threats from China’s technological offer – understand the global nature of supply chains and service provision, irrespective of the flag of the supplier.
“Take a clear view on the implications of China’s technological acquisition strategy in the West, and help our governments decide which parts of his expansion can be embraced, which need risk management, and which will always need a sovereign, or allied, solution.”